SEA Games: Gilas women claim historic first gold medal after tough final vs. Thailand
Paul Lintag on Dec 10, 2019 07:46 PM
(Photo by Richard Esguerra)
MANILA — History has been achieved by Gilas Pilipinas women.
The Philippines captured its first-ever gold medal in women’s basketball for the Southeast Asian Games after Gilas Pilipinas scored a gutsy 91-71 victory over Thailand Tuesday at the MOA Arena.
Featuring a showdown of two undeafeted teams, Gilas women dropped an avalanche in the second half, overwhelming the visiting Thais to finally win that previously-elusive gold medal.
“I'm just so happy for the girls, for what they achieved. Now, we hope na mapansin niyo na kami,” head coach Pat Aquino said.
Women’s basketball sadly does not get as much as attention as their male counterparts, despite the fact that the Philippines is a hoops-crazed nation.
Aquino and the rest of his Gilas women’s team hope that their double gold — they also won in the first staging of 3x3 basketball last week — can help shine a light on their struggles.
“It's been a long time, we've been doing this since 2015, and now the gold is with us, and I'm just so happy. Not happy for the girls only but for the whole country and the women's side," coach Pat added.
Led by Jack Animam and Janine Pontejos, Gilas women opened up a 16-point lead in the third period, holding Thailand to just five points through the first eight minutes of the quarter.
The Pinays were relentless in pursuit of victor in the final quarter, with multiple players hitting big shots to keep the Thais at bay.
Jack Animam led the Philippines with 11 points, her best work coming in the second half. Janine Pontejos was also huge for the Gilas women, starting the national team's opening salvo.
Pontejos finished with 16 points. Kelly Hayes and Ana Castillo added 11 points each for Gilas women while Afril Bernardino was good for 10 despite a slow start.
Thailand got 15 points from New York Liberty point guard Tiffany Bias.
PHILIPPINES 91 -- Animam 21, Pontejos 16, Hayes 11, Castillo 11, Bernardino 10, Cabinbin 7, Jose 6, Nabalan 5, Prado 2, Castro 2, Tongco 0, Chan 0.
THAILAND 71 -- Bias 15, Kunchuan 12, Udomsuk 12, Yothanan 10, Kaichaiyapoom 5, Maihom 4, Supyen 3, Buapa 3, Klunbut 2, Phromrat 2, Sangmanee 0.
Quarters: 27-20, 45-43, 68-52, 91-71.
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